Why I’m Sceptical

Been there, done that …

Bill Clinton – President Pinocchio?

The Way To The White House Is Paved With Campaign Promises. The Average President Breaks 40% Of Them.

Clinton Aides Now Say Promises Were Just “Goals”

January 17, 1993
By Craig Crawford

Chicago Tribune/Orlando Sentinel

WASHINGTON — Will President Clinton change your life?

Not anytime soon, according to President-elect Clinton.

”I have to put everything back on the table,” he said last week in Little Rock, Ark.

Clinton had been asked only how his promise to cut middle-class taxes would be affected by the rising federal debt. But his answer suggested that everything he had proposed during the fall presidential campaign is now in doubt.

As this week’s inaugural bash revives Clinton’s legendary campaign skills – starting with today’s bus trip from Monticello to Washington – a harsh reality will lurk behind the fun.

Federal red ink and unsympathetic congressional leaders threaten Clinton’s promise of prosperity for middle-income Americans.

Whether it’s giving middle-income families a tax break or offering free college tuition to everyone, several of Clinton’s promises are disappearing even before he takes the oath of office on Wednesday.

Clinton or his aides have also backed off plans to:

– Stimulate the economy with massive public-works projects;

– Cut the White House staff by 25 percent;

– Cut federal borrowing in half during the next four years.

Those once-heralded proposals are now referred to as ”goals” within the Clinton camp.

Yet such promises had helped convince many Americans that they would feel the difference in a Clinton presidency. Election Day exit polls found that most voters who chose Clinton said they had done so because ”he will bring about needed change.”

Clinton’s inaugural festivities are aimed at piling more assets onto the fortune in good will he won as a campaigner.

But how will Clinton convert this political capital into changes that Americans might feel? Very slowly, if the past two months are a guide.

Clinton’s presidential transition was notable mostly for unsurprising Cabinet choices and frenzied news-media coverage.

While jogging almost daily for news cameras, Clinton has moved at a glacier’s pace on tough policy choices.

Missing now are the once-feverish predictions of inaugural-eve legislative packages to revive the economy.

Clinton’s Cabinet nominees have revealed no policy decisions of any sort during their Senate confirmation hearings. Instead, they referred to most policy suggestions as a ”viable option.”

Repeatedly asked for specifics on Clinton’s economic plans, Treasury Secretary-designate Lloyd Bentsen kept saying, ”That decision has not been made.”

Filling the roster of political appointments has also bogged down. Clinton has filled fewer than 200 of the 3,000 federal jobs available to him.

The president-elect’s sympathizers insist that, once in office, he will take to his new powers with vigor and speed.

”Clinton reminds me of Franklin Roosevelt, who almost immediately began making things happen,” said Duke University historian James David Barber. ”Like Roosevelt, he can be expected to take an experimental approach to government, always out there for people in big trouble.”

Failing to fulfill such promise should not surprise voters.

Presidents on average keep about 60 percent of the promises they make, according to Jeff Fishel, author of Presidents and Promises.

Sometimes a promise is best broken. Abraham Lincoln vowed not to abolish slavery but wound up freeing black Americans.

Other failed promises were mostly forgiven. Franklin Roosevelt said he would balance the budget but instead attacked the Great Depression with massive government spending.

A few shattered promises provoked fury. George Bush said he would never raise taxes, but he did so and took a beating.

Clinton might be forgiven a little backtracking, but he will likely be held to his promise of a better life for average Americans feeling the economic pinch.

”I am a product of the middle class,” Clinton said in his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention. ”And when I am president, you will be forgotten no more.”

Wednesday’s inaugural address could indicate how Clinton will popularize his prescriptions for change, as in John Kennedy’s inaugural call to ”ask what you can do for your country.”

But it will take more than bus trips and soaring rhetoric to fulfill Clinton’s promise, according to Republican analyst Kevin Phillips.

”Disenchantment will persist until the middle class feels it is back on the road to prosperity under policies it considers fair,” Phillips recently wrote.

American University professor Alan Lichtman agrees that if the new president does not deliver on his promise for change, he could join the growing ranks of ousted presidents.

”He is going to have to make changes that people notice,” said Lichtman, who wrote about the importance of policy change in his book The Thirteen Keys to the Presidency.

Lichtman discovered that the past five presidents who lost re-election each failed to change national policy in some dramatic way.

For instance, voters felt the effect of Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts. Most applauded his assault on welfare spending. Such policy changes helped him handily win re-election in 1984.

”The American people are a fundamentally pragmatic electorate,” Lichtman said. ”They measure success in results.”

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Author: craigcrawford

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96 thoughts on “Why I’m Sceptical”

  1. ”The American people are a fundamentally pragmatic electorate,” Lichtman said. ”They measure success in results.”

    ….the one president in recent memory who actually achieved that goal? Not Ronald Reagan, the affable wingnut whose tax cuts blew open a huge deficit, but Bill Clinton — who left balanced budgets and a nation on track to paying off the national debt entirely.

    [or so wrote realclearpolitics a few years ago]  that and nostalgia for the nineties when most remember good jobs, good pay and bright futures for their children mark the Clinton era as a success to some.

  2. so, boss, is this skepticism of yours non-partisan?  does it also apply to the goper candidates’ promises and the rosy revolution promised by bernie or just to Hillary?

  3. Patd got here first.


    One small proviso … The world is more dangerous today simply because there are more people causing trouble and Mother Nature is starting to hate us. Whoever goes into the WH is going to face ever bigger problems.

    So looking at the potential candidates on offer, who do you HONESTLY think has the experience, contacts, intelligence, support, and sheer personality to stand even a snowball’s chance of handling the job.

  4. Firstly, Bill Clinton isn’t running for President.  So I suppose  the premise here is that if you were unhappy with Bill Clinton for a failure to fulfill campaign promise,  you should expect the same from Hillary?  This article was written in 1993,  “If new president does not deliver on his promise for change, he could join the growing ranks of ousted presidents.”  Any unfulfilled promises weren’t enough to stop his reelection in 1997.  

    So if the reader is to go along with this logic, she may ask, as Hillary did in 2008, “What didn’t you like?  The peace or the prosperity?”

    Frankly, this article only exposes a longtime negative view of Bill Clinton, and if following the same sort of logic, Hillary Clinton.

  5. This article is a great snapshot on political reality. CNN had a Road to the White House trifecta last night. How are Cabinet choices really made? Haha, how many delegates do you have, State Boss…  How our Presidents are chosen is a measure of the creativity of their Campaign Manager. Promises, promises.

    I’ve said this before but bears repeating: the Clintons have a remarkable talent for attracting detritus in their orbit. They are the ultimate in professional political animals. They know the game & play it masterfully. Whatever the hiccup, they survive, which is a skill. That being said, Secretary Clinton isn’t him. She is herself. What choices she makes should be judged thus. This is her time. 

  6. Why I’m Sceptical


    Excellent comment.

    If the piece is reminding us that all politicians make promises they can’t keep, fair enough.. The Congress bares responsibility for that as well.. Still Bill’s presidency was the best in my lifetime and my vote for him earned..


    “Secretary Clinton isn’t him. She is herself. What choices she makes should be judged thus. This is her time.”

    Excellent comment as well.. Its really getting boring to hear mostly male pundits bloviating that a potential Hillary Clinton Presidency  should always be compared to her husband’s… Ah but do i hope if Hillary is President she has similar successes that her husband achieved, you bet..  I hoped the same for Obama.. This political world is a different place the the 90’s.. Republicans seemed sane compared to the bat shit crazy ones today.. Obstruction is their goal and they’ve been damn successful at it..

  7. Additionally discussing campaign promises will only lead to the unicorn and rainbow promises made by Bernie, which would of course, if he were to be elected, would not be attainable.  That is imo, his 2nd biggest mistake-overlooking the reality of his soaring promises, as if the House and Senate weren’t going to come into play, leading the children to believe in his fantasy world.  The first mistake imho has been dropping his campaign promise to “run an issue oriented campaign”  and now daily attacking HllaryA Month on Offense: How Sanders Upped His Attacks On Clinton.  Doing so at this time,  In light of the ugliness, hatred and bigotry spewing from the GOP candidates- is exposing an unflattering narcissism and a complete lack of care for the outcome of the general election, our Nation and the World.

  8. Good morning mixers.  Since I have retired, I noticed I have become adept at time travel…only one way it seems…into the past.  I have just traveled back to 1992 when we were finally free of repug rule.  Of course Clinton had thin talent to pick from for his cabinet…we were starved for 12 years.  But, never mind we have all made some questionable choices and statements…some of mine were made just last week.  I do feel in my head and heart that HRC will make a fine POTUS.  Any one else in the field to do so?  I doubt it.

    I prefer to look to the future…AI.  I found this on Tay.   Artificial intelligence is more important than Trump though it seems they may be taking the same path.

  9.  “On the second day of Sanders’ multi-week streak of Clinton contrasts, the crowd booed his opponent’s name at an event in Norfolk, Virginia. Sanders immediately held his hands up and shook his head.
    “No. No. Nope, nope, nope.” said Sanders quieting the room, “I respect Secretary Clinton, we can have differences.” The crowd applauded and the booing abated.
    He has not stopped a booing crowd since. ”

    Excellent comment.. This from the link in your comment.. Bernie has become everything he always decried a typical politician.. The purity test he has set up that only he can measure up to is nasty.. Ridiculous given are current political system..
    How he switches for his hateful attacks against Hillary and supports her in the General remains to be scene.. I fear Bernie has unleashed so much hate in his supporters and i find it shocking he’s went there given all the time i’ve listened to him. I would have never guessed that was inside him…We can see the hate in comments here and elsewhere… Hard to put the hate genie back in the bottle.. I’m not sure now Bernie has the humility and lack of ego to do what Hillary did in 2008 and do what’s right at the end of the primary..

  10. just to be fair and not so off-balanced, in the rereading of fearless leader’s topic I don’t see an attack on Hillary…. unless that “Clinton’s aides” refers to hers not his in some sort of snarky way.  and even if it is hers what’s wrong with “goals” instead of promises given the current makeup of critterville?

    we hillaristas (sorry, sea, we clintonites) may have become a bit too sensitive and thin skinned about craig’s and other friends on the trail comments.  take deep breaths, count to ten, smile and soldier on.  been there, done that and more likely will have to do it again.

  11. “Republicans seemed sane compared to the bat shit crazy ones today.. Obstruction is their goal and they’ve been damn successful at it..”   So true Tony.  I often think about what , I believe it was Craig who brilliantly pointed  out the adverse effect C-Span has had on the House & Senate- allowing them come and go more freely, not requiring them to stay in the same room and  learn to work with the other side of the aisle.  

  12. Pat-No one too sensitive or thin skinned. He has already stated that he is skeptical of Hillary.  The piece implies Hillary as Bill is the subject, or perhaps all candidates but choosing to make the argument with Big Dawg, it only follows….otherwise what is the point of the post.  Please refrain from telling Hillary supporters to smile, or lecture regarding  fairness.

  13. Every time I start to moderate a bit on Bernie, he does one of his cranky grandpa things.  The latest being to shove his wife away from him because he wanted to start speaking.  He is just very very rude.


  14. Hillary was practically Bill’s running mate in 1992, they overtly sold themselves as a 2-for-1, and she was deeply involved in the administration to a greater extent than any First Lady I’ve seen, so she can take credit for the good economy, which she often cites in campaign speeches, but she was in the thick of most major policy decisions, all of it is fair game.

  15. Good that gives her healthcare, SChip, the trip to China, women’s rights, willingness to fund raise for ALL Democratic candidates…. You know all the things the attackers particularly MSNBC & Morning Joe never bother to mention during the daily Hillary bashing.  Might as well pile on and iterate, reiterate, and re-reiterate all the garbage that has been thrown for the past quarter century.


  16. The American electorate was so pissed off about Clinton’s having broken those campaign promises that they re-elected him with 600,000 more votes than he had gotten when running with those promises a central part of his campaign. If as Poobah (rightly) points out, Hillary was his surrogate and the pipple were electing 2 for 1, they approved of her in ’96 as well.

    GWB ran promising to be a compassionate conservative with a restrained foreign policy.  He was re-elected with an additional 9 million votes after breaking those two fundamental promises.

    And BO ran on a promise of hope & change in 2008, which most people seem to think he delivered neither – the results, re-elected in 2012 (albeit with 4 million less votes than in 2008 – apparently IND.  & NC held it against him).

    I wonder which of Bill’s promises he’ll go back on this time…

  17. “Please refrain from telling Hillary supporters to smile, or lecture regarding  fairness.”

    mea culpa, sea.   indeed not my place to tell anyone what to think, feel or how to vote.


  18. Yep, Pogo, voters are so used to broken campaign promises, they don’t even keep track of them. About the only broken promise that had consequence I can think of was Bush Sr. tax pledge, cost him significant support among conservatives in the ’92 general.

    And then there the secret promises that are kept, like repealing Glass-Steagal

  19. Here is a Hillary promise I’d like to see her elaborate on, or abandon. It’s part of her stump and on her website: “We need to demand lower drug costs for seniors.”

    Does she intend to propose changing the dirty deal Obama and the Dems made with big PHarMA for its support of Obamacare — a provision banning Medicare from negotiating the price of drugs with manufacturers? She knows that’s the only way to do anything about this.

    But she is silent on that detail. Why not propose that specific change and make the campaign a referendum for  leverage to push it in Congress (and a few other things, for that matter). Otherwise, implying you’ll do something about this is misleading seniors. Which I fear is exactly what she’s doing.

  20. Another day…  more Hillary hate…  blah, blah, blah….

    OTOH…   my new order of hand painted rayon came in the mail this past Saturday.  Some new colors….   can’t wait to weave it up!


    last month from chicago trib Commentary: Bernie Sanders makes promises no one could possibly keep


    or from the news record  this from one of his supporters Opinion: Bernie Sanders’ promises are empty

    I consider myself a Bernie supporter, but I increasingly feel more doubt whether Congress will actually let him change the system in place. One person is not going to change everything, even if he is the president.

    Maybe our generation is too young to remember Obama’s 2008 campaign, but he was promising great changes just like Bernie. Now it is eight years later and we are more or less in the same spot we were before he was elected.

    I can see Bernie giving us this same false hope, restoring our generation’s faith in a broken political system only to have little change. I am not skeptic of Senator Sanders’s commitment, but I am worried about the rest of the government playing along.

    I will be supporting Bernie until the end, but I still cannot shake the feeling he is giving me more false hope than actual change. 


  22. I’m pretty sure we agree, Poobah.  If campaign promises are the metric by which candidates are judged, Bernie better hope that his promises of transformation of the political and economic systems are quickly forgotten. If he doesn’t win the nomination, his campaign will end up where Jesse Jackson, Ross Perot and any other inspirational/transformational candidates’ campaigns ended up – relegated to history.

    And on another note, Bernie had a good weekend.  If I were one of his supporters I would be very excited.  He won the last 5 primaries/caucuses and netted 62 delegates against Hillary, reducing her pledged delegate lead to 268.

    It was so good a stretch it made me go back and look at the trends in the primary contests.  So on to amateur wonkishness.

    Hillary ran the table on the previous 7 primaries.  In those 7 she netted 121 delegates more than Bernie. Bernie’s biggest state win so far (measured by delegates won and by delegates available to win) was Michigan, where he won 67 and got 4 delegates more than Clinton.  His biggest haul so far was Illinois (he got 73 delegates).  Hillary won Illinois and got 76 delegates. His biggest net win was Utah, where he got 20 delegates more than Hillary.

    So on to the future,  New York and Pennsylvania are the next two large delegate hauls coming up, with a total of 436 delegates.  Hillary’s polling leads in those states run from 27.5 (PA)-34.5(NY).  She’s up by 11 in the biggest pool of all, CA (475), but that over 2 months out, so anything could happen before then.  Throw in WI (polling is close), MD and NJ (her polling edge is around 30 in MD and NJ), and that’s pretty much where this will be won or lost for Bernie.

    There are 3 more caucuses and 5 open primaries – those are the places Bernie has done very well.  289 delegates are at stake in them, and in the largest 2 of those (WI & IN) there’s only polling in WI, and it’s within a couple of points nothing so far is suggesting a blowout.

  23. Bill was a hold-my-nose candidate.  Bob Kerrey dropped out before the TX primary, so I voted for Tsongas.  At the county Democratic convention, there was a push for Clinton (maybe Tsongas had dropped out that day) and I had to go to a caucus room to be pledge allegiance to Bill.

    All politicians have big ideas and make promises. I have no problem with a politician having grand ideas.  I may or may not like those ideas, but to see the direction a candidate wants to move the country is necessary to know what they want to do while in office.

    However, when a politician tailors their promises depending on the audience, that is red flag.

    When a politician both takes credit for and distances themselves from something, that’s a red flag.

    Mitt Romney looked and sounded like a president straight out of central casting.  So this whole HRC-oozes-presidential, is a load of fried baloney.  It’s optics, nothing more.

    It’s not “her turn” because of Obama in 2008.  It’s not “time” because she’s a woman. As a female voter, some of the things coming out of her campaign are so condescending to women.

    The Clintons are good campaigners, but they are not such good people.  Bill wouldn’t know the truth if it but him in the backside.  Hillary is more careful and calculating, but is no more trustworthy.  The trail of ruined lives that couple has left in their wake is shameful.

    And, the Clinton campaign and their media-arm trying to push the Bernie Bros thing in order to whip up some sort of feminist fervor is ridiculous, but expected.

    I have spoken with many friends and relatives from CA to FL, and not one of them will vote for Hillary.  Some of the are Republican, but even the Democrats have had enough of the Clintons.  And yeah, they sell themselves as two-for-the-price of one.

    Hillary is for fracking (no such thing as “safe” fracking), trade deals that erode our job market, Wall Street, yet she has tried to align hetself with Bernie to trick folks into voting for her.

    I know where Bernie stands.  Big ideas? You bet.  As prez, he will keep pushing for those things.  He may only get them to a certain degree, but he will not change direction.




  24. Poobah,  I too would like to  hear how HRC plans to put pressure on pharma to lower drug prices (enlightened self interest).  I’ve assumed it was to remove the no price negotiation provisions for MC since as you said, it’s the only way to accomplish that, but I can’t say that I’ve actually heard that.  It would take Congress amending the legislation, which is going to be a stretch.

  25. There are unfulfilled promises, and there is unfulfilled promise. No president in recent memory has exemplified the latter more than our current one. While he certainly faced the impediment of an opposition that chose not to be ‘loyal’ to the country and its democratic principles, he did little to help himself and made no effort to appeal directly to the people. Given my choice, I’ll take my chances with a politician who promises the moon, and then is tireless in delivering what can be achieved, even if it is short of the ideal, than one who is simply content to ‘be’ president.

    On the other hand, (and I know this is old) How can you tell when a politician is lying?  [His/her lips are moving.]

  26. Craig

    one interesting thing is you are consistent.

    But a lot happened after you wrote that column.

    One , Bill Clinton apologized for not implementing the middle class tax cut and explained why, like we are adults.

    Ya know, that is one thing both the Big Dawg and HRC have in common, they treat us all as adults whether we earned it or not.

    Oh and by breaking his promise and getting the historic budget passed got a reduction in real interest rates that more than made up for any tax break.  Ya know for the first time the president and Congress were behaving as adults. They actually decided to pay for  their programs by raising taxes.

    That budget act was one of the most progressive pieces of legislation since LBJ.

    But those things are all forgotten by the rewrite of Clinton haters on the left and right and of course the Broderite serious people in the press corp.



  27. Pogo, solid analysis there. Bernie will get more bragging rights going forward, particularly if some buyer’s remorse sets in, which generally happens once there is a presumed nominee. The math that I don’t see him overcoming is that he would have to win nearly 60 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to surpass Clinton – so far he has managed about 45 percent. And that doesn’t count the 700 superdelegates. Already nearly all the 500 who’ve announced support are backing her. When the tables were reversed and Hillary was in this situation in 2008, she was actually closer to Obama’s delegate count at this point than Bernie is to her. Also, there are very few caucus states left, his forte.

  28. always good to see your gentle wisdom in the hood, CajunJoe. give us a thread post sometime.

  29. Pogo, that’s why I’d love to see her embed some specifics, such as letting Medicare negotiate drug prices, in the voters’ minds and make her election a referendum to bully Congress to get specific things done. Still might not work, but remaining so vague on this, and waiting until after the election to push it (if at all), is definitely a non-starter.

  30. An interesting article

    Shapiro then looks at income growth by age for the past five presidents and finds that the “…largest average annual gains in median household income occurred during the Clinton and Reagan administrations, with a clear edge to Clinton.” As figure 2 illustrates, young people in the Reagan and Clinton years saw their incomes grow right into middle age. The contrast with the Bush and Obama years is stark. Under those two presidencies income growth is lower for young people, small for those entering middle age and negative for those in the 45-49 year age group. No wonder our recent politics has been so bitter. As William Galston notes in another Brookings paper, “Economic stagnation means a continuation of gridlocked, zero-sum politics and a turn away from the spirit of generosity that only a people confident of its future can sustain.”
    In other words, this can’t continue.
    Shapiro concludes that “our current problems with incomes are neither a long-term feature of the U.S. economy nor merely an after-effect of the 2008-2009 financial upheaval.” Nor are they driven by “economic impediments based on gender, race and ethnicity, or even education.” He identifies two structural causes; globalization and information technologies. But he also asks us to think about what Reagan and Clinton did that the two presidents of the 21stcentury did not do. “The Clinton and Reagan fiscal approaches supported stronger rates of business investment than seen under Bush-2 or Obama. In addition, their support for aggregate demand included public investments to modernize infrastructure, broaden access to education and support basic research and development.”

    What the Clintons get that Obama and Bush were clueless about is that  it is a package deal. It is not either/or There is a role for both business / free enterprise and a role for government. Some thing that their opposition on the left and right have never understood in their “political correct world”.

  31. So why are we demanding specifics just from Clinton?

    Ya know she has reeled out tons of specifics about other things, ……………..


    Why do I get the feeling that if she put out a detailed paper about this then folks would move on to something else and go

    ” Ah You didn’t talk about this, what are you hiding?”

    must be DC culture.


  32. Craig- you are press- can’t you contact the campaign and ask?  I believe the part of the answer is found on her site though

    “Make premiums more affordable and lessen out-of-pocket expenses for consumers purchasing health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. Hillary believes that in order to expand coverage for families, we need to reduce the cost of purchasing health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Her plan will provide enhanced relief for people on the exchanges, and provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 per family to offset a portion of excessive out-of-pocket and premium costs above 5% of their income. She will enhance the premium tax credits now available through the exchanges so that those now eligible will pay less of a percentage of their income than under current law and ensure that all families purchasing on the exchange will not spend more than 8.5 percent of their income for premiums. Finally, she will fix the “family glitch” so that families can access coverage when their employer’s family plan premium is too expensive.”hillary clinton health care

  33. Don’t forget she had such details when it comes to healthcare hat she was mocked for the in inches depth of Hillarycare papers.

  34. jack, you nailed it.  what really needs emphasized for the next prez to replicate, to do and not just promise (in cleaning up the mess dubya left us and congress kept obama from accomplishing) is that last line in the article you linked:

    “… public investments to modernize infrastructure, broaden access to education and support basic research and development.”

  35. Pat, glad you pulled that out I tried to highlight it but failed.

    Yes, in this modern world capital and corporations can leave the country in a heart beat. But people and infrastructure don’t. Money spent on them isn’t spending it is investing.



  36. Jack,

    As you know, I support Hillary.  Facing entering the Medicare system a month before she might take office I am curious about how she plans to put downward pressure on Rx drug prices although I don’t take any Rx drugs routinely.  I ain’t getting younger and I expect that will change.  (I’m good with giving Medicare negotiating power and can think of a couple of other non-free-market approaches that would never get through Congress.) I gotta say, Bill’s results, even with the broken promises, were pretty good – best in the last 5 years at least. And with all due respect to Poobah and the rest of the skeptics and the haters (Blue and the others – you know who you are) Clinton has been much more specific on many more issues than any candidate who has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning their party’s nomination.  Yes, it is a double standard.

    Why I’m Sceptical

    Poobah, one state and 2 territories.


  37. Jack, when I first saw that plan a few months ago, I noticed that so many proposals were simply to “demand” that the industry do this or that. But I do see upon re-reading, at the bottom she endorses Medicare negotiating drug prices. Good. It will take a whale of an effort to get that through Congress, so why not make it a campaigning issue, not just tucked into a fact sheet.

  38. so why not make it a campaigning issue, not just tucked into a fact sheet.

    Good suggestion Craig…  although I have no doubt that if she were to make it part of her campaign there are some here who would accuse Hillary of “pandering to the elderly”.

  39. “so why not make it a campaigning issue”

    craig, then she gets derided for pandering to specific groups and piling too many issues for public to digest. no way to win for her:  if she proclaims a goal, then it’s criticized as merely a promise or a platitude and if she lists issue by issue specifics, then she’s wonky boring.

    for example take this critique of her campaign style by shields and brooks back in February on pbs newshour:


    Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a theme. Her campaign lacks a theme. So, it became last night, and it seems today, that the argument is not why Hillary Clinton should be president. It’s why Bernie Sanders shouldn’t be president.

    And that seems to be now the — but it’s still a campaign that doesn’t have an overarching theme. There’s nothing there to say, let’s march.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, when she says, “I’m not a one-issue candidate,” David, is that half-a-theme for her or…

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, that’s half-a-theme, but sometimes when someone gives you nine explanations for why they did something, they have got no real explanation.

    And when you’re writing a book, for example, weirdly, a book is about one thing, and a campaign is the same thing. It’s about one thing. And she doesn’t have that one thing.


  40. RR, to me “pandering” is vague promises with no prescription for achievement. Tying a vote for Hillary to specific legislation, such as restoring Glass-Steagal or allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, builds trust in her promises and creates leverage for her in Congress. Regardless of what you think about the details of the 1994 Republican Contract with America, it was a model of success for giving voters something real to vote for beyond personalities.

  41. Published on Mar 27, 2016

    Frank Morano talks with former Trump adviser Roger Stone about the Cruz allegations and legendary PIX anchor Marvin Scott.

    and realclearpolitics quotes him:
    “He’s a lawyer himself,” he said, “so why won’t he sue? It won’t cost him anything. To be absolutely clear — Cruz won’t sue because the allegations are largely true.”

  42. George Will, giving the Republican spin on the unknown – it will be nothing like the glory days of the 100 years between 1870 & 1970.  I will grant you, it was a pretty remarkable century.  Almost all of the significant advances were a direct result of Mr. Edison’s transformative discovery. I’d argue that all the inventions etc., were the inevitable result of the power grid that electric light demanded.  And that was the good old days when the financial and industrial titans were not represented by a political party who sought to take government out of the mix, but I digress.

    Will’s summary of the advances since 1970 are pretty lame, and only the internet is after the century he cites as so miraculous.  Politics and government aside, in 1970 computers were the size of small houses, telephones were attached to walls or sat on desks and you had to stand or sit by them to use them.  Letters went only by the postal service.  I tend to believe that when the critical mass of solar energy becomes strong enough that it supplants the dirty and expensive alternative of fossil fuels, the limitations that currently exist to converting salt to fresh water and providing electricity throughout the world will fall away and nothing will be the same after that.  Energy will effectively drop in price and rise in availability and that will make all the difference in the hungry and energy starved parts of the world.  Yes, there will be those out there who will seek to limit and control the availability of it, but when the infrastructure demands to generate and deliver energy continue to fall away, they will ultimately be doomed, at least I believe that will happen. Cell phones, MRIs, GPS, fiberoptic telecommunications, electronic ignition, laproscopic surgery, DNA mapping, personal computers, smart phones, WiFI and Nike shoes all were invented since 1970. No, none of them are the light bulb, but the cell phone and smart phone have to be way up there.

    I can’t predict what will happen in the next 55 years any more than someone in 1870 could have predicted what would happen in the next 100 years, but the technological advances that we are seeing now will lead to something.

  43. RR, to me “pandering” is vague promises with no prescription for achievement. 

    Craig… do you consider “there should be free public college for all because we bailed out corporations and now they should bail out the American people” as fulfilling your above statement….   because I sure the hell do.  To me that is pandering to young people.

    oh yeah…  it’s also akin to pulling a pot o’ gold out of his ass…

  44. RR, agreed, but Bernie is not the one headed for the presidency. Hillary is. Comparing the two is no longer relevant in my mind. I am turning here to ideas that not only help her get elected, but, even more important to me, what gives her maximum leverage to assert an electoral referendum for reform in the face of hostile turf on Capitol Hill. I am searching for substantive reasons to support her beyond my default position of wanting a woman president. My double standard is critically analyzing, holding accountable, finding message traction for the Democratic candidate who can actually win this thing, just not interested in the one who can’t.

  45. Renee, as a college dad, you’d think that’s pandering to ME rather than to my college kid, but I ain’t buying it.  And last I knew, public college was a state function.

  46. Good point, Poobah – btw, you’ve turned the corner.  I appreciate the approach you are taking.  Left with what we get as the alternative, better to improve than criticize the candidate who will be running.

  47. Did she lie under oath as to when she began using that email server?

    Why did she find it necessary to by-pass the gov’t email system?

    If she were a Repug and/or a man, I don’t think people would think she should still hold office, no matter her platform.

    These are questions that will be asked if she becomes the nominee.

  48. Yet the alternating current electrical grid to power Edison’s lights came from Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse.

    Edison’s electric chair was his attempt to kill, not so much people, as the use of alternating current. My great grandmother always kept glass bowls under her electric outlets, to catch any leakage of the dangerous alternating current.

  49. Free health care, free education, and a solid social security all come with a price. what I keep hearing from Bernie is that a small number of institutions and a relatively small number of individuals can fork out enough to cover the cost so that the majority won’t have to. I am not opposed to free higher education, or free health care, but everyone is going to have to have some skin in the game, not just the big banks and the one percent.

  50. pogo, re your comment above, they’re coming up with new stuff every day.  example on alternative fuels

    Scientists have previously demonstrated the use of solar power to make hydrogen fuel from water, he said. The U of L team’s breakthrough shows a way to get hydrogen fuel from water vapor, Marsh added. 

    The findings are published in the Journal of Energy and Environmental Science by Conn Center researchers Sudesh Kumari, R. Turner White, Bijandra Kumar, and Joshua Spurgeon. The article details a proof-of-concept system that could operate stably and efficiently at realistic conditions at the ocean’s surface, according to a press release.

    Marsh said the technology could still be a decade from commercialization. But U of L notes that it may help overcome one of the limitations of solar power – that it’s not available at night. Using solar power to create a fuel such as hydrogen provides an energy-dense storage solution that can be used in other applications, such as transportation.[….]

    Traditional electrolysis of water harnesses hydrogen by using pure deionized liquid water and runs at relatively high currents, U of L officials said. Solar-driven electrolysis runs at a much lower current relative to the area it covers. So solar hydrogen production can “breathe” water from the air without using fresh liquid water, they said.

    “This is a direct demonstration of a viable solar fuels technology that could create a new market in offshore solar utilities with built-in energy storage to solve the intermittency issue, minimize land usage and environmental impacts of solar arrays and are the first energy facilities to be net freshwater producers,” Spurgeon said.

  51. I’m guessing that if you took a poll of the most fanatical Sanders backers, most would say that our international killings upset them most. Dexter and BlueInDallas both wrote of the wars as bothering them deeply. Clinton didn’t start the wars, but she had a (much) later role in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was SoS when the cell phone organized Arab Spring spilled over the Tunisian border into Libya, and thence to Egypt and Syria.

    I cut a lot of slack for people who refuse to vote for anyone who worked on those catastrophes.


  52. Ahhhh Craig…  I get it now….  thanks for the explanation.  I did take it as you getting up this morning with a hate-on for the Clintons once again.  And I agree about comparing Hillary to Bernie as an exercise in futility.

    Jace…  there ‘s no such thing as a free lunch in any country.  Those with single payer healthcare and other nice benefits pay much higher taxes than we do here….  just ask any Canadian.  I’d be willing to pay higher taxes for many of those benefits…  but alas…  I know most Americans will disagree with me.

  53. for awhile there, maybe an hour following my last comment around 3:00 the trail became inaccessible.  was this me or did others have the same trouble?  sure hope we aren’t targeted again and shut down.  in the meantime I notified the boss about it.  and voila! here I am.  unfortunately for youse guys.

  54. Perhaps she will subsidize drug costs for all but the rich and shame the drug companies into bargaining

    she could use an index of drug costs in countries where health costs aren’t exclusionary


    Clinton has no underlying motive for the at home server.  She was following the example of other secretaries of state of both parties.

    I heard Angela Davis call Bernie a one-issue candidate and that he doesn’t understand racial issues.  She said lifting economic burdens won’t end racism.

  55. Jamie, thanks for the update on the facts.  here’s more from cillizza in wapo:

    That the investigation is nearing its end and that it is taking the time of nearly 150 agents is a bad news/good news situation for Clinton. On the good news front, the push to wrap it up one way or the other soon means that if she is largely cleared of wrongdoing, this story won’t continue to dog her in a general election race — or it at least won’t be an active investigation during that contest. On the bad news front, you never really want 150 FBI agents chasing down leads in relation to anything you have a hand in. That’s just a lot of people digging through your professional life.

    For me, the 147 number was eye-popping — suggesting this investigation was far more wide-ranging than I, at least, believed. That doesn’t mean Clinton is guilty — or anything close to it. But it does suggest that this is not a sort of obligatory look-see by the FBI. This is a wide-reaching examination of all of the communications between Clinton and her aides — and no one running for president wants that to be happening as they try to wrap up the party’s presidential nomination.

  56. I agree, Mr Crawford, that when the Clintons were first couple it was Buy 1, Get 1. And this ties into my comment about the Clintons attracting detritus, i.e. staff that is either too full of themselves & their perceived ‘brilliance’ or are just too fricking dense to see the obvious: keep William Jefferson Clinton away from Secretary Clinton’s campaign. What do people tend to remember first? The last impression. 1998-99 is not something to remind voters about.

    Advice from a nobody from nowhere to the leading Democratic Candidate: Win or lose this election yourself. Bill Clinton is the 800lb gorilla. We know him; he is there. Funny thing is that something so obvious sort of fades into the background when ignored. It’s yesterday’s news unless brought up. A number of Voters don’t even remember who was President last century. Why the heck remind them? Question should be: What will you do for our future & why should I vote for you this November. (And who advises you & how much do you pay these nitwits? Jeez.)

  57. PatD, we did have some outage this afternoon at the server company level. They were quick to notify me and resolved their issue in a timely fashion. Nothing dastardly, at least not on our site.

  58. Although I don’t think Bernie is infallible, a saint, nor a monk (based on the garb in the photo), I do enjoy the image of him surrounded by little birds.

    Have the turtle doves been nesting around the trail?  They are doing so here.  I keep telling them, location, location, location.  They don’t listen.

  59. RR,

    I’m with you. America can afford all of the things that are being talked about, but not without everyone digging deeper to pay the cost in higher taxes. As I often say about AZ, we get exactly what we pay for and we don’t pay for much.

  60. Why I’m Sceptical

    Red, spew on.  That’s being asked at Redstate and all over the internet, to say nothing of the FBI’s investigation.  It wasn’t a lie – everyone in the DoS IT and security office was aware of it. WaPo has run a series of articles recently that have detailed when the practice started, who was consulted, etc., etc.  that answers that “question” of yours.  I’m not overly fond of what the articles reveal, but the suggestion that the question isn’t being asked and answered is either willful ignorance or intentional misdirection.

  61. Why I’m Sceptical

    XR, yep, the AC/DC camps were pretty adamant about the benefits of their respective current preferences. I have inadvertantly tested the power of DC current from the coil of a Fiat 850. It was not pleasant.

    Why I’m Sceptical

    patd,  the pace of development of those things that have been invented already is pretty astounding.  It is also pretty invisible until it makes it to market.  I don’t’ think about solar panels often – until I see them, like this weekend driving past the Lordstown GM assembly plant in OH – there is a huge solar panel array in what used to be a parking lot.  This is at a GM plant. It’s coming – and it won’t be with a bang.  Neither was the electric light or the car when they were in their infancy I’d wager, but looking back on them it looks like that.

  62. “And this ties into my comment about the Clintons attracting detritus, i.e. staff that is either too full of themselves & their perceived ‘brilliance’ or are just too fricking dense to see the obvious:”


    Amen. I have no problem with Hillary in the White House, I just don’t want to be subjected to all those old Clinton re-treads. The Clinton’s were never a problem for me, but the people who latched onto them all too often gave me the creeps. No more Carvilles or Lanny Davises. Hopefully HRC will bring in some fresh faces should she win.

  63. If you believe a “promise” from a politician be prepared to feel left without a teddy bear.

    Although I meant everything I said when I was running for office;  the realty is that I had to work with a dozen other people to do anything.  Governing means you are stuck with others and cannot be a dictator.

    Breaking News:

    DOJ broke the terrorists phone.  Surprise, surprise, surprise.  Having been in IT from before it was called IT, we always had the saying “if man made it, man can break it”.  I won’t bother letting you know what all I had to break.

  64. Blue, shame on you. I know, if you promised me something, you would do your absolute best to fulfill that promise. Likewise here. I don’t know how many middle of the noght phone calls trying to reach next of kin of constituents because it was the right thing to do. Or argued their cause before the cable, fone, and power companies. Sheesh.

  65. Flatus – trying to get something thru is different from pushing through change.  Getting change thru and into legislation is a very good feeling.


  66. Why I’m Sceptical

    Oh Blue

    You have become our own walking talking Fox news channel spokesperson on Hillary…. To say i’m shocked is an understatement.. Carry on but i’m going to scroll on by your non factual (lack of links to support your claims) opinions.. Take care..

  67. Imagine how many more of these questions she will have to try to answer if she is the nominee.  Remember, I “don’t matter.”

  68. Blue

    ” What Does It Matter?” in context rather than the right wing nut job description of the testimony was …

    Why are we arguing about the fact that they are dead when we should be concentrating on how to ever keep it from happening again?  If you watch the whole transcript, she was practically crying over the loss of a good friend and had just hit the end of her rope with the asses on the committee asking the same questions over and over just to hound her.

    This happens all the time with Hillary.  What you see from the far right conservative descriptions and what actually happened are frequently miles apart.  Then you get “some people say” “I’ve heard that” “it has been charged that” all without names or substance layered over the phony descriptions until it reaches the level of needing a nearby vomitorium.  Everything written or said on those sites has to be inspected for “maybe” “possible” and any other weasel words that will keep them for being sued for outrageous prevarication.



  69. Everything written or said on those sites has to be inspected for “maybe” “possible” and any other weasel words that will keep them for being sued for outrageous prevarication.”


    Don’t forget the Gold Standard.

    ‘Some people say’. If some people say it, it must be true. Right?


  70. No, the superdelegates won’t bail out BernieBy Kos“Dear god sanders’s-plan-to-win-nomination is a massive load of stupid!

    [Bernie] Sanders said in Cnn that he and his campaign will try to persuade pledged delegates — so-called “super-delegates,” who decide independent of the voting — to flip from supporting [Hillary] Clinton to supporting him instead, on the grounds that he is the more electable candidate in November.Second, and more narrowly, Sanders also said on CNN that super-delegates in states that he won will feel pressure to support him, rather than Clinton, in order to honor the will of those states’ voters.

    1. The idea that the super delegates will overturn the will of the voters is ludicrous. It was bullshit when Hillary Clinton floated this nonsense in 2008, and it’s bullshit today. As I wrote at the time:”http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/3/28/1507291/-No-the-superdelegates-won-t-bail-out-Bernie

  71. Good heavens. Geraldo is dancing in a Trump wig tonight.


    the wig must have lead in it. I’ve always thought Geraldo was mad as a hatter.

  72. [Bernie] Sanders said in Cnn that he and his campaign will try to persuade pledged delegates — so-called “super-delegates,” who decide independent of the voting — to flip from supporting [Hillary] Clinton to supporting him instead, on the grounds that he is the more electable candidate in November.Second, and more narrowly, Sanders also said on CNN that super-delegates in states that he won will feel pressure to support him, rather than Clinton, in order to honor the will of those states’ voters.


    These so called super delegates had decided to support HRC long before Bernie was a player. If he thinks that they will jump ship now, I want some of what he is smoking. For a man who has been in politics for a long time he seems a bit naive about the realities of presidential politics. Bless his heart.

  73. Despite the fact that those who favor Bernie are touting the huge amount of money garnered with the Clooney fundraiser, there is a small detail they forget and it does impact the super delegates.

    The majority of the funds went to the DNC and 32 different state parties to use for down ticket races to try to give the House and Senate back to the Democrats.  Hillary has raised millions for these races.  Bernie zilch.

    There is no way these party activists and office holders are going to slam the drawer on their cash register and it is the chief problem with St. Bernard.  Even after decades in public office, he doesn’t seem to grasp that no one can do it all alone.  The villagers are not going to show up with pitchforks to throw out the bums.  They have to elect them and until such time as Citizens United gets overturned, those races need money.


  74. I was told, here on the trail, that I “didn’t matter” since I was just a Bernie supporter.

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